Diplo­mat hurt by sonic weapon?

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MATTHEW LEE, ROB GIL­LIES AND MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN

WASH­ING­TON — At least one Cana­dian diplo­mat in Cuba has been treated for hear­ing loss, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment said Thurs­day, amid re­ports of sim­i­lar symp­toms among U.S. diplo­mats in Havana — caused, of­fi­cials be­lieve, by some sort of ad­vanced sonic de­vice.

Cana­dian of­fi­cials “are aware of un­usual symp­toms af­fect­ing Cana­dian and US diplo­matic per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies in Havana,” Global Af­fairs spokesper­son Bri­anne Maxwell said in a state­ment.

“The gov­ern­ment is ac­tively work­ing — in­clud­ing with U.S. and Cuban au­thor­i­ties — to as­cer­tain the cause.”

Of­fi­cials don’t have any rea­son to be­lieve Cana­dian tourists or other vis­i­tors could be af­fected, Maxwell added.

Canada helped bro­ker talks be­tween Cuba and the United States that led to re­stored diplo­matic re­la­tions.

In the fall of 2016, a se­ries of U.S. diplo­mats be­gan suf­fer­ing un­ex­plained losses of hear­ing, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials with knowl­edge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case. Sev­eral of the diplo­mats were re­cent ar­rivals at the em­bassy, which re­opened in 2015 as part of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s re-estab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions with Cuba.

Some of the U.S. diplo­mats’ symp­toms were so se­vere that they were forced to can­cel their tours early., of­fi­cials said. They con­cluded that the diplo­mats had been at­tacked with an ad­vanced sonic weapon that op­er­ated out­side the range of au­di­ble sound, de­ployed ei­ther in­side or out­side res­i­dences.

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